Flood my Mornings: Round and Round
I would love to see Jamie at a like carnival or fair and Claire introducing him to all those weird foods in FMM! What would he think of cotton candy or a funnel cake?
Notes from Mod Bonnie
- This story takes place in an AU in which Jamie travels through the stones two years after Culloden and finds Claire and his child in 1950 Boston.
- See all past installments via Bonnie’s Master List
- Previous installment: Unimaginable (Jamie and Claire pick a name for the wee bun in the oven)
I thought the last word was likely, ‘God,’ but it was anybody’s guess, really, drowned out as it was by yet another bout of vomiting and the sudden blast of music from a nearby loudspeaker.
“Oh, love…That bad, is it?” My tender, spousal concern was acknowledged only with a string of Gaelic curses, surprisingly creative ones for a man so laid low.
It was a gorgeous hot day (bright enough that I was grateful for my broad hat), but it did make the scent of vomit that much more inescapable. The county fair had come to town, and with both of us having the rare treat of being off on a Saturday, we’d decided to make a family outing of it. Though it was hardly a grand exposition, both Jamie and I felt giddy as Bree strolling around amidst all the merriment, taking in the exhibits, music, livestock, food, and rides…including a deceptively innocent-looking Merry-go-Round.
“It was so good of you to try it for Bree’s sake, love.” I rubbed Jamie’s back, trying my level best not to laugh at the way his hunched back seemed to have lost all its vertebrae. “Is there anything I can get you to make you feel a bit better?”
He raised his head a fraction from the garbage can, high enough only to glare at me. “How about a trip through the stones to ten minutes ago so I might choose to SPIT on the fool contraption instead of ride it?”
“Not sure that’s quite how it works, my love,” I whispered, laughing and kissing his shoulder.
“Daddy? Da!? DA!?!” Bree chirped from below. “Can we go—go an’ do the round’n’round again??”
Jamie looked down at our two-(no, two-and-a-half-and-then-some!)-year-old. “Do ye want to send your poor Da to his death?”
“Doesna—doesna’nt go to DEFF, Daddy,” Bree laughed as if he were being hilariously obtuse, “Goes ‘round and ‘ROUND.”
“So I noticed,” he groaned, hunching once more over the garbage can and spitting.
“Okay, lessgo DO it!!!” and she was tearing off back toward the Merry-Go-Round.
“Ohhhh, no-you-don’t, little monster,” I said, swooping her up into my arms before she scuttled off. My sunglasses slipped to the tip of my nose, but I couldn’t immediately get them back up. Between the heat, the sudden movement, Bree now like a boulder on my hip, a heavy handbag banging against the other, and my back abso-bloody-lutely killing me from toting around a seven-months-grown-human in utero, I suddenly felt woozy and completely spent. “Here, lovey,” I panted, trying to keep from toppling over, “Can you help push Mum’s glasses up? Yes, just—There we go, thank you, sweetheart.”
“Melcome!” she chirped and gave me a wet kiss on the mouth.
I mmm’ed happily and kissed her cheeks as we swayed together next to Jamie. “Was the ride fun for you, at least, baby?”
"Uh-HUH, s’was BUNCH fun!”
“Hear that, darling? ‘Bunch’ fun.”
From the plastic depths, I thought I heard him name a few other choice things it was ‘bunch’ of.
I did feel for Jamie. We should have known it would be no better than a boat for motion-sickness, and he’d spared ME from having to ride the thing, after all (though truth be told, I quite liked such exhilarations when not pregnant). But I was ALREADY shaking with silent mirth imagining the photos I’d snapped, all laid out in the cherished family album. The first few would show a sweet and lively scene: Jamie smiling cheerfully, standing with his hand on Bree’s back, she triumphantly mounted on her plastic chestnut steed waiting for the ride to start… and then would follow the play-by-play of the situation’s rapid deterioration, every revolution of the Merry-Go-Round showing a Jamie still more pale and hunched and desperate, until—Well, that LAST one was a blackmail goldmine for the ages.
“Daddy?” Bree asked suddenly, her face scrunched up as she peered at her father. “You mad’it Mama?”
That got Jamie’s attention and he straightened. “Mad at her?”
“All…” She waved her hand. “…mean.”
His eyes softened and they flicked up to me, verifying that I wasn’t in fact upset. “No, I’m no’ cross at either of ye, a leannan,” he promised her. “The ride on the Merry’round just made my wame all wobbly, such that I forgot my manners.”
I bounced Bree on my hip. “I bet sometimes you feel a bit grumpy when your tummy hurts, too, right?”
“Oh, aye,” she conceded, a flash of pure Scottishness beaming through, as it did from time to time. She leaned over and gave Jamie’s elbow a clumsy pat. “Sorry for y’r tummy hurted.”
“That’s verra kind of ye to say, mo chridhe.”
“Havva snack, w’feel ALL bedder, okay?”
“…Suggests the young miss with NO motive of her own,” I said, nuzzling my nose against hers.
“Oh, definitely not,” Jamie agreed soberly, eyes twinkling. He stretched, replaced his hat, and exhaled, then gave a small ha! of surprise. “I will say, Bree-love, a wee bite does sound just the thing.”
“Good, let’s HAVV’it.”
“If there had been ANY doubt about your parentage, Bree, that bottomless pit of a stomach would have been proof-positive.” I sighed. “Alright, you two, let’s see what we can rustle up. Here, Jamie, will you—?” I honestly felt like I was going to fall over.
Jamie obligingly plucked her out of my arms. “Jesus, lass,” he said with an exaggerated groan, “but you’re getting big.”
“Nuh-uh, Da, I’m the little.”
“Aye, you’re still the little, for now,” he agreed, tenderly tucking her hair behind her ears, “Before long you willna be the littlest, though.”
She nodded, sagely. “When Beeyin’s comin.’”
“Aye, cub,” he agreed, grinning at me, “when Baby Ian comes.”
Brianna couldn’t be convinced for anything that just ‘Ian’ would do, and insisted each time on referring to her brother by what she considered his full title: Baby Ian. The only problem with this was that she couldn’t seem to manage all the syllables in a row; hence, “Beeyin”; hence as well, many private family jokes, such as equating him to a wee bean; or when the wee lad would start jouncing me about like a racehorse, Jamie cocking his head to the side and asking, ‘Beeyin your bonnet?’, and other such delightful silliness.
“Alright, let’s see about some chow. You two stay here,” I indicated a nearby shaded picnic table, “and I’ll see what I can scrounge for us. What kind of snack do you want, Bree?”
She screwed up her face in ferocious concentration before saying definitely, “Som’fin GOOD.”
“Well, thank you for being so specific. Very helpful, I don’t think. Any preferences?” I asked Jamie.
“Som'fin good sounds perfect,” he said with an attempt at a wink.
“Ooooooooo!” Bree squealed a few minutes later when I returned with the goodies.
“Cotton candy,” I explained, carefully passing Jamie the paper cone supporting the precarious pink cloud.
“Cotton?” he asked dubiously. “And it’s edible?”
“Just spun sugar,” I said with a grin. “Now, Bree, take your fingers and—No-no, just pinch a little off with your—oh—Oh, well.”
Bree had stuck her entire face into the sticky mass and taken a monumental bite, pulling back with wisps of pink in her eyebrows, enraptured.
Jamie looked skeptical to the extreme. “Does it taste nice, cub?”
“Uh-huh!” Bree clawed out a fistful of fluff and shoved it upward toward Jamie’s mouth. “TASTE!”
Jamie gave me a preemptive grimace and took a tentative bite. “Holy Moses,” he said, blinking hard and shuddering as he swallowed. “It’s like pouring the whole sugar bowl direct into my mouth.”
“It’s GOOD,” Bree insisted, chowing down with relish.
“None so verra filling, I’d wager, but as long as ye like rotting your teeth out—”
“Here,” I laughed, “I came prepared with other options as well.” I pulled the next item from the bag. “Care for some Elephant Ear? Just a silly name, I promise,” I said hastily, seeing his alarm. “No pachyderms harmed in the making of this treat.”
“What is it, then?” he asked, peering around Bree’s head. “Pastry?”
“Try it while there’s trying to be had,” I said, handing it to him. “I’m eating for two, and we fully intend to eat our way through the entire elephant.”
He did enjoy the fried dough, going back for several huge bites, licking powdered sugar from his fingertips. “Lord, though I dinna ken if I can manage wi’ any more sweeties.”
“Alright, let’s see how you manage this.”
Jamie had probably never had American corn in any form before, I reflected, let alone on the original cob. I certainly hadn’t grown up eating it, and so it didn’t occur to me to buy it at the market. From the gusto with which Jamie inhaled the roasted ear, slathered with butter and spices, though, it was going to have to become a regular staple.
“No foolish name for this one?” he asked as he was finishing the last few bites.
“Not as far as I know,” I shrugged, trying to wipe Bree’s face, which was an unmitigated disaster-zone.
"Pity. Missed a good chance.”
He waved the naked cob suggestively. “Corn on the co….” And the barest-whisper of “…ck.”
“You’re a ridiculous human being,” I murmured, leaning in to kiss him.
“And you are absolutely lovely,” he murmured back against my lips, squeezing my knee.
“C’n I havva cornna-cock, too?”